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Stranger Things (2016) - TV Series Review (Season 1)


Stranger Things is a Netflix original series about a disappearance of a boy in a small town, and the efforts of his family and friends in order to find him, in the midst of strange events. This show's popularity really blew up after its release this year. It was everywhere, and I finally got around to watching it, and to see what all the big fuss was about. And well, the hype is real.

I'll be very honest, I don't think I have ever seen a show that got me hooked so badly, so quickly, and maintained that interest throughout with extreme consistency. I started it after midnight, with a plan of watching a couple of episodes that night (Working Day, had to get up early), and continuing the rest next day. But instead of that, I stayed up till morning and completed it in one go. It literally glued me to the TV.

Now, the thing that was most prevalent in hooking me to this show, at least at the start anyway, was the setting. It hit all the right points for me considering I have some deep inner love for this even though I haven't watched that much from the era:
  • Small homey town in a 1980s setting. Check.
  • Children as the leads. Check. 
  • Mystery in the town. Check.
  • Government doing shadey stuff. Check. 
  • Music that cements it all. Check.
Of course, the setting alone is not enough. And boy oh boy did this show did a fine job in executing it.

The characters were great. I loved them. The kids, the adults, and the teens, all of the main ones were awesome. Reminded me of Firefly in the sense that even the least likable main character was still someone I really liked. The actors did a splendid job portraying them. Winona Ryder was great as this mom who lost her son. David Harbour, who I have always seen in secondary roles, and mostly negative roles at that, was awesome as the chief, and he should really do more roles as the hero. The standout for me was Millie Bobby Brown, who plays as Eleven (El). This girl was OUTSTANDING. And her relationship with Mike and the other kids, and the way it progressed, was probably my favourite thing in the show. 

The pacing was just perfect. No wonder I couldn't stop watching it. Perfect binge watch material. Each episode had enough suspense, mystery and new questions, reveals/releases, and cliffhangers, that it felt fast as opposed to the usual slow burn mystery type media goes for, and kept me on the hook, wanting for more. 

The story itself was really good. There are like 3-4 main arcs happening i.e The kids, The Chief, The Mom and The Teens, perfectly intertwined with each other, progressing properly as the episodes goes on, and finely blended with each other. And amidst all the chaos that slowly kept building on, the show managed to put in these heartwarming/emotional scenes that hit you right in the feels. There are only eight episodes, but it was amazing how the show was able to make it all feel meaty and full-filling. Something that I have experienced quite rarely, since in most cases you are left wanting more, even if the show is awesome. So extra props to the show for that.  

The music was so enthralling. It perfectly conveyed the feel of this setting that the creators of the show were going for, as they themselves are big fans of the 1980s era and wanted to make something that pays homages to tons of things in that time, as well as make it feel fresh and exciting. The show also had really good cinematography. It looked really good. 

As for flaws, I really don't have any major or big flaws that brought the show down for me considerably or anything like that. Only nitpicks that kept it from being flawless or perfect in my eyes, like there were a couple of scenes (One in particular) that felt like they didn't fit properly considering the otherwise awesome flow, which in turn made those scenes standout more. Still, they weren't bad or anything, just didn't felt like they flowed properly. And somethings weren't given more time in the end. Also, a bit more Government side, just a bit more, would have been nice. 

In the end, as you can tell, I adored this show. Still can't stop thinking about it, especially the music. It is stuck in my head for two days now. I had never heard about The Duffer Brothers (Creators of the show) before, and now I will never forget them. Major MAJOR Kudos to them both for creating this show. Easily the best first season of a show I have watched in a long long while. I so can't wait for the next season. And of course, I highly recommend it.

9.5/10

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